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CERT-HCT: The Best Suggestions for Utilizing Video

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Suggestions to the Classroom Practitioners Who Use Video in the Classroom

By: Christine Canning-Wilson,
Center for Excellence in Research and Training, Higher Colleges of Technology Abu Dhabi

Email: [email protected]

If video is to be used in the classroom to improve listening comprehension, it should
be shown in segments and not as a whole. These segments should be broken down
to exploit the macro-listening skills and the micro-listening skills from the
audio-component of the video. There is scant, if any, empirical evidence to indicate
that videos shown in their entirety improve listening comprehension scores of
nonnative speakers of English. For as much as the visual may aid in understanding the
scenario or general gist of the filmıs plot, it may detract from the individual messages
produced by the speakers. In fact the constant visual stimuli may detract from the
auditory component. Empirical evidence has shown that attention spans are lowered
when watching videos used to teach foreign languages (Balatova, 1994). As Balatova
(1994) states: ³The first signs of distraction in those groups appeared after the first
minute, and by the end of four minutes, distraction spread all over the groups, while in
the video conditions several more students became distracted after six minutes, more
students lost concentration after ten minutes and around one third of them kept
watching until the end.²

Key Considerations for Using Video in the Classroom with Nonnative Speakers

Although video may be a popular tool to use with students, as F/SL educators we
must not loose sight of the educational purpose it has in the language classroom. It is
suggested that language teachers should ask themselves the following questions
before implementing a video lesson with F/SL learners:

How will the language learner benefit from the use of video in the classroom?

How will the visual component enhance the auditory component?

Who will select the video? Is it the class, the teacher or the curriculum

Who decides which language should be exploited from the video? Is it the
class, teacher or curriculum developers?

How do you plan to exploit the 1-10 minute segment of the video? What are
the alternative methods of exploiting the clip for further reinforcement in the

Whose responsibility is it to select key vocabulary and structures from the

Who decides how many times the video is played?

How can students and teachers develop academic listening and conversational
listening activities based on the video?

How is the video used in a classroom context?

How does video support the curriculum?

Can the comprehension of the video be measured without visual support?

Can the comprehension of the video be measured without auditory support?

How will you assess the comprehension of the video by the language learners?

How practical is the video to improve a learnerıs academic listening and/or
conversational listening skills?

What is the educational purpose for showing the video? How will you later
assess its effectiveness with the learners ability to comprehend information?

* Christine Canning-Wilson is the past Chairperson of the TESOL Arabia 2000 Conference and is currently the Chairperson of the Video Special Interest Group. She was the Chairperson of the Media Graphics and Visual Arts committee for over 5 years at UAE University, where she also served as a supervisor.
She has published many articles on the subject of visual research and has been invited to speak around the world. Currently, she has accepted a new position at the Center of Excellence for Research and Training at the Higher Colleges of Technology in Abu Dhabi.

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